This past week, we had some dear friends over for cocktails and appetizers and then had dinner together at the Red Rooster restaurant, just open a year now, but famed and always crowded. It’s nice!
Charlie Rose was at the table next to ours, (poor guy, he spilled wine all over himself) and the star chef/owner Marcus Samuelsson stopped by and chatted with us. As usual, the Swedish meatballs and fried chicken (yardbird) were great!
I’ve mentioned before, I don’t think I do appetizers well and this opportunity of only having to serve just that and not a whole dinner, was unusual for me. So I wanted to make them different, not too filling, (because I knew dinner would be), and fresh. I think I achieved that.
I relied on my friend Margaret’s recipe for tonnato, a really creamy, bursting with flavor dip. Combining tuna, anchovies, capers and mayo and you can’t go wrong. Throw in parboiled green beans, fresh fennel and red pepper sticks and you’ve got a delicious combo. I also included a marvelous true English cheddar from Todd English’s Food Court at the Plaza Hotel, some crackers, pistachios (Susan loves) and corn nuts.
It worked out great and I think this would also be great for game watching today. Let me know what you think!
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 olive oil
8 oz Italian tuna in oil, drained (or use 1 ½ cans of water packed white albacore tuna, drained – I actually think this is better!)
5 anchovy fillets, packed in oil, at room temperature, drained and patted dry with a paper towel
3 tbs. lemon juice or a bit more to taste
2 tbs. capers, drained
Salt and pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients in the food processor and process until smooth and voila, you’ve got one tasty dip! Do taste before you add any salt and pepper as you may not need any salt at all.
For the green beans, trim the one end, drop in boiling salted water for 2 minutes. Drain and immediately put in an ice water bath to stop the cooking. Pat dry and let air dry. When dry, wrap in a paper towel and place in a ziplock bag in the refrigerator to chill.
Fennel and red pepper strips should just be raw. You could also use carrot, celery or cucumber strips too.